Dog Bite Injuries
We like to think of dogs as man’s best friend. However, friends can hurt you, and dog bite injuries can be very complicated. Understanding the law surrounding dog bites and protecting your rights is vital to our injury attorneys at Houston Injury Lawyers. We have obtained excellent results for our clients in these cases.
Who is Liable?
Texas follows the common law “One Bite Rule.” This means the owner is not typically responsible the first time a dog bites a person. After a first bite, the dog will then be declared dangerous. An owner of a dangerous dog may be subject to criminal and civil Liability in Texas. The Texas Health and Safety Code makes it a misdemeanor (Class C) for the owner of a dangerous dog.
An unprovoked attack on a person causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept. And that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the chamber.
The owner of a dangerous dog may also be held strictly liable for any subsequent bite made by the dog and any dog bite injuries.
Strict Liability is a legal concept whereby a person is automatically liable for injuries and damages when they engage in certain prohibited conduct. The intentions or mental state are not relevant.
There are other ways in which an owner of a dangerous dog can be liable. If the owner knew that the dog had vicious tendencies or demonstrated dangerous behavior, they could be found liable. Houston Municipal Code states dogs cannot “run at large.” This means they cannot run around unauthorized without a leash. If the owner fails to follow the rules, they are liable.
There are exceptions to when an owner is liable. The owner is not responsible if the injured person provoked the attack or injury. If the injured person knew of the violent or dangerous nature of the dog and voluntarily risked an injury, the owner is not liable. The owner is not responsible if the injured person was unlawfully trespassing when the accident occurred.
Homeowners Association Liability (HOA)
HOAs should give notice and warning if there are any dangers. The court will likely find them liable if a dog injures a person within an HOA. If applicable, the negligent dog owner will be responsible as well. Some HOAs have pet policies to help minimize animal liability. The good question is, “Did the HOA reasonably keep the community and me safe.
Laws about dogs biting vets can be tricky, but Houston Injury Lawyers are here to help with any dog bite Injuries. The owner is liable if the owner still has total control of the dog and has not given it to the vet.
Once the vet consents to taking to the dog and has control, the owner usually is not liable. Vets take an assumption of risk when handling dogs within their care unless the owner did not give notice that the dog is dangerous. If vets know the dog is dangerous, they must take reasonable measures to protect themselves, or they cannot claim the owners liable. Appropriate measures can include keeping the dog away from others or putting on a muzzle or cone to prevent biting.
Dog bite injuries all a person to recover with monetary damages. An injured party can recover medical expenses and other things depending on the accident and injury circumstances. Traumatic experiences like this can take you away from work, cause trauma, or cause severe emotional distress, all of which can recover from damages.
What do I do is I have dog bite injuries?”
Step 1: Seek immediate medical care if the injury is severe or life-threatening. In non-emergent cases, see a doctor as quickly as possible.
Step 2: Take pictures of the injuries ASAP. It is essential to keep a record of the injuries over time. Scarring, nerve damage, and disfigurement are crucial factors in determining damage.
Step 3: Create a record of the accident and keep a note of facts such as the dog, owner, location, and circumstances surrounding the accident. With this information, Houston Injury Lawyers can help determine liability, negligence, and how we can best help you recover.
Step 4: Talk to one of our injury attorneys at Houston Injury Lawyers.
If you want to speak to someone about your situation, call our office for a free and confidential consultation at (713) 366-HURT.